Blake Griffin to miss rest of postseason; Chris Paul has surgery on hand

ByArash Markazi ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the postseason and Chris Paul will be out indefinitely, the Los Angeles Clippers announced Tuesday.

Griffin aggravated a left quadriceps injury in Game 4 of the team's first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. An MRI revealed no further structural damage, and the team said he'll be ready for the start of training camp.

Paul, meanwhile, underwent surgery Tuesday morning in Los Angeles to repair a right hand fracture that he suffered in the third quarter of Monday night's game. Team sources indicated the recovery time for Paul is four to six weeks, meaning the Clippers would have to advance to the conference finals or NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history for him to return this postseason.

The series with Portland is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

For the third straight postseason -- all under coach Doc Rivers -- the Clippers have been plagued by bad luck. The franchise that began in Buffalo, moved to San Diego and then Los Angeles has never advanced past the second round.

In 2014, voice recordings of then-owner Donald Sterling surfaced during the playoffs in which he made racist comments, leading to him being banned by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who forced the sale of the team. Last year, the Clippers were within a game of reaching the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, only to blow a 3-1 lead and lose the last three games by a combined 46 points to the Rockets.

"Yeah, it's not the best luck," Rivers said Tuesday. "I mean, it's the worst that I've seen. There's storms and every storm, it stops raining at some point. We've just got to figure it out. We can't look at the future other than tomorrow. That's all we've got to do. We've got to focus on tomorrow. That's what our team has to do. We can't control the noise outside of our team.

"Obviously, if you take [Kevin] Durant and [Russell] Westbrook away [from Oklahoma City], if you take [Stephen] Curry and Klay Thompson or Draymond Green [away from Golden State], it changes your team. And we know that. But we don't have to be the best team, we just have to be the best team tomorrow. And that's all we have to figure out, how can we be the best team tomorrow and then figure it out one more time."

Griffin was limited in the fourth quarter Monday night due to the quad before he sat out the final 5:48 of the game, a 98-84 loss.He had suffered a partially torn quad tendon on Christmas Day, and also broke his hand during an altercation with a member of the team's staff earlier this year. Those injuries caused him to miss 47 games during the regular season.

"It's tough," Griffin said after Monday night's game. "It's not easy dealing with injuries, especially this time of year."

Paul suffered a fracture in his right hand while defending Blazers guard Gerald Henderson in Game 4. He was taken out with 6:07 left in the third quarter. The fracture was in the third metacarpal, in the center of the palm of his right (shooting) hand.

"Listen, we had the best record in the NBA when KG [Kevin Garnett] went down," Rivers said, recalling his time with the Boston Celtics. "Things changed for us, and we still almost made it to the Eastern finals. We were one game away from the Eastern finals without him. It stays with you, but it also tells you that you can do things with guys out.

"Different guys are going to have to step up. What I always had to convince guys was you can't go into the game thinking it's you -- you're the guy that's going to score 30 that night -- because it's probably going to take four or five guys to do it. It's not going to be one guy."

Griffin averaged 15.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the first four playoff games. Paul averaged 23.8 points, 7.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds.

The Clippers are 25-21 in regular-season games and 1-1 in the playoffs without Paul, who missed two games against Houston in last year's Western Conference semifinals.

"Chris is one of the great competitors that the league has ever seen,'' Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. "For him to go down right now it's brutal. He's worked his whole life to get here.''

The Clippers will be going into uncharted territory without the two All-Stars.

Over the last three years, the team has not played a single game in which it had DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick but did not have Paul and Griffin.

"You feel bad for Chris, you feel bad for Blake,'' said Redick, who is dealing with his own nagging left heel injury.

Austin Rivers will replace Paul and Jeff Green will replace Griffin in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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